Troubleshooters: Customers furious after buying from Vroom
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Buying a car online has been marketed as easier and faster, but customers of one nationwide company say they can’t drive their cars once they buy them.
Some customers of Vroom told WAVE Troubleshooters buying a car on the site was effortless, but getting it registered in either Kentucky or Indiana turned out to be a nightmare.
“I saw it online, I’d searched various online services but I settled on Vroom.com because the price was really good,” Patrick Myers said.
He said he always researches his cars all the way down to the wheelbase.
“I typically know more about the vehicle I’m buying than the dealer,” Myers said.
When Myers’ new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas arrived in the first week of October, he said he was more than eager to get behind the wheel.
“You finish the paperwork, you get all your sales paperwork — where’s my title and registration? (They said) it’ll take a few days to get it in,” he said.
Five months later, when WAVE met with Myers, he was still trying to register his car.
“This one actually expired, so I couldn’t drive my car for, in my case, about five days,” Myers said, showing WAVE the set of temporary tags he had.
Amanda Patrick never registered her car when she bought it because after a mechanics inspection, after the car was delivered, she decided to cancel the entire Vroom deal.
“He just told me I should avoid that car like the plague,” Patrick said. “There were scratches all over the car from front to back.”
The mechanic also found a bent wheel, mismatched paint and even a rodent’s nest under the car’s hood.
When Patrick said she called her Vroom salesperson within her seven days and 250 mile cancelation policy, she never got through.
“Whenever I dialed his extension, it would automatically drop my call, so I could never get through to him,” Patrick said.
A Vroom spokesperson told WAVE, “We regret Ms. Patrick and Mr. Myers had negative experiences with Vroom last year. Our goal is for every customer to enjoy their vehicle from the moment their purchase is complete.”
Amanda filed a complaint with the Kentucky Attorney General’s office. WAVE also found six similar complaints there, as well as seven at the Indiana Attorney General’s office. Even worse, the Houston Better Business Bureau has thousands of complaints on file.
“(Vroom is) catchy at making dealerships look terrible,” Houston Better Business Bureau President Dan Parsons told WAVE. “Well OK, pot meet kettle — you’re the terrible one.”
He said the Houston BBB revoked Vroom’s accreditation in 2020, when it had 1,500 complaints. He added that Vroom is now their largest complaint file, making up a third of all complaints in the fourth largest city in the US.
“Complaints literally come in on a daily basis, dozens, complaints and customer reviews come in on a daily basis dozens, and they’re growing,” Parsons said.
Still, he said he is stunned by all of it.
“I am surprised to see this one go as long as it has,” Parsons said.
Vroom is headquartered in New York, and is licensed as a dealer in Texas, Florida, and Arizona. As a result of Vroom’s violation of Texas car dealer rules, the Texas DMV filed 59 cease and desist orders against the company. The most recent order fined Vroom $12,000 for 24 violations. In February, Florida fined Vroom $47,000.
Vroom told investors in its annual report, “As we have encountered operational challenges in keeping up with our rapid growth, during the past six months there has been an increase in customer complaints, leading to an increase in such regulatory inquiries. We endeavor to promptly respond to any such inquiries and cooperate with our regulators.”
“The law is interesting it actually says why,” Myers said.
He said he does not understand why Kentucky’s Motor Vehicle Commission is not more aggressive, especially after reading the law.
“To regulate and license dealers of vehicles doing business in this state, in order to prevent frauds, impositions, and other abuses upon its citizen,” Myers read.
The Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission, however, said it can only investigate dealers physically located in Kentucky, since Kentucky’s law was adopted during Ronald Reagan’s administration, when cars were sold from dealer lots. Vroom had a similar story in Indiana, even though it was once licensed. The state revoked its dealer license in 2018 after an inspector found that its car lot had been abandoned.
The Kentucky Attorney General’s office helped Patrick return her car, and Myers was able to register his car before Super Bowl weekend.
Both said they may buy from a dealer in person next time.
“It’s literally done in minutes, where this has taken months,” Myers said.
According to an email from the Texas DMV investigator, he found potential violations in Myers’ case. The Texas DMV attorneys will decide how to proceed.
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